September 2015 - Simply Samantha

Naturally Loriel, Naturally Free

8:00 AM

I love finding amazing spices for dishes. Especially natural, organic kind.  Naturally Loriel makes amazing spice blends that are just that.
When I was scrolling through her instagram I knew I was going to love this girl because of the numerous post of her chickens. I grew up with chickens and I miss having them so much. If my small town would allow us to have backyard chickens, I would.

But besides her awesome chickens, she makes some great natural spice blends. here is a little about them from her website::

All of these blends have been created with fresh, delicious, organic, non-irradiated spices, and of course -- lots of love. The best part is all of Naturally Free's ingredients contain 100% real spices that you can find in your spice cabinet. With real spices like these, you can feel happy and confident that you are feeding your family with the best ingredients possible.

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I made up her french onion dip a weekend ago, and took it to a get together. It was a hit! It tasted delicious!
You can see more of spice blends here
:: They include French Onion, Italian Seasoning, and Taco Seasoning :: 

I highly recommend them! I think I will be purchasing some of her's in the future! 


EASY DIY Burlap Wreath

8:00 AM

You probably have seen pins of DIY burlap wreaths all over pinterest. 
Trust me. I have too.

But I think I have found the tutorial that trumps all the others.
If you are like me an are a little DIY challenged, this tutorial is for you.
It's in video form which I think makes it so easy to understand and do.

Here is my finished product! 
Excuse the horrible looking front door. We are eventually going to paint our little house :P

What is great about these wreaths is that they can be changed with the season. 
Right now its College Football season in the Riley household. So I took some UF themed ribbon (from Michaels) and wove it within the burlap. I also picked up some cheep clip in flowers in Gator colors from Michael's as well.
You can buy plain wood letters at any craft store (I've even seen them in target) and paint them with just some acrylic paint.
Super simple and easy!

Do you have any fun fall projects planned?? 

Allergy Free and Vegan Recipes

Sweet and Sour "Chicken" and Veggies

11:37 AM

After a few small bites of this dish I knew I had to share it. 

Now, I should preference something before I move on since this meal can be considered vegan and since most of the recipes on my blog have been mostly vegan based.

I am, in no way, fully vegan or vegetarian. I don't eat pork and RARELY eat red meat.
However, I do eat chicken and fish.
BUT during the week I try my best to make 3 of our 4 dinner meals meatless. 
It tends to be a bit cheeper, and of course, healthier. 
Hence why there are so many meatless meals on my blog.

Ok moving on.

I love me some sweet and sour chicken. When I could eat all that gluten filled Chinese goodness, sweet and sour chicken was my favorite. I've made a few gluten free alternatives but nothings been all that amazing.
Thank the Lord for Pinterest and "Beyond Meats" pinterest page because I think I found a recipe to beat ALL the recipes.

::Sweet and Sour:: 
"Chicken" and Veggies

Sweet & Sour sauce:
3 TBS. ketchup 
3 TBS gluten free soy sauce
3 TBS. agave
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 c. water
15oz can of pineapple (I used a can of crushed pineapple) +1/4 c. juice 
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 TBS. cornstarch

The others:
1-2 TBS. olive oil
1 medium/large onion, diced (almost minced)
4-5 medium/large carrots peeled and sliced on a diagonal slant
4 c. fresh or frozen green beans


  • In a medium saucepan, add ketchup, soy sauce, agave, 1 cup water, sesame oil. Whisk, & bring to a boil. While, you're waiting for mixture to boil, whisk 1/4 c. cold water & cornstarch. Add cornstarch mixture to saucepan & whisk until it thickens. Add pineapple & juices. Stir, & bring to boil again, allowing to thicken. Remove from heat.
  • For the Beyond Chicken strips--add all strips to a medium heat skillet. Warm for a few minutes (if frozen, about 5-7 minutes), stirring with a fork till done.
  • In a wok or large pan heat oil.
  • Add onions and stir continuously for a few minutes. The add carrots & green beans. Continue to stir fry for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until carrots & green beans are cooked but still slightly crisp.
  • Cut chicken strips into bite size chunks. Add to stir fry, along with sauce. Stir and cover. Turn down heat to medium low & let simmer for a few minutes so flavors can incorporate.
  • Serve it on top of your favorite rice. 

Happy Cooking Friends!

side note: 
Beyond meat is NOT sponsoring me to write this post. 
I do it out of my own love for their products. :)

blog reviews

NEW Modern Table Meals

8:00 AM

I've been in love with this company for almost a year now.
Their easy to make meals make this busy healthy eater a happy camper. 
 You can check out my review of their original flavors here.

There was no way I was going to say no to reviewing their new favors and new bean pastas.
I saw pictures of their new flavors from several bloggers who attended Expo West this year. I have been waiting with anticipation to get my hands on some ever since.
I was not disappointed.
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The newest flavors are Mac and Cheese and Pesto. Both Vegetarian and Gluten Free.
Both are super tasty and full of flavor. They could easily be eaten on their own or as a side!

I love to stock the meal kits in my cabinet for days I don't have a meal planned (like the weekends).
They are easy on the wallet and simple to make. Perfect for busy families! 

Modern Table also has also come out with a line of new pastas! These are amazing. 
I made a super yummy basil pasta with the Mixed Lentil Pasta
The texture is perfect, you wouldn't even guess it was GLUTEN FREE and made of lentils!
They are also dairy free for all my non-dairy peeps! 
Modern Table Meals
You can check out ALL of their products here
And see if you can pick them up in a store near you here! 
By the way, don't you see that little GMO label on the bottom left?? They are GMO verified now! Yippee! 

Thanks Modern Table Meals for making such great products!!! 

*Disclaimer* I was sent the items above in exchange for a review. All opinions are 100% my own. 
However, I love these products and buy them on my own dime all the time ;) 


Sambazon Energy *Organic*

8:00 AM

I absolutely love finding the products that help keep me energized throughout the day. By mid afternoon, I can usually feel my blood sugar crashing, so I am always in need of finding something to help me reenergize.

This is a great product for just that! It tastes amazing and full of superfoods to give a nice boost to your draining energy.

Here is a little more about the Sambazon Energy via their website:: 
Caffeine from Organic Yerba Mate, and Guaraná. Rich in antioxidants from açaí berry. Made with all organic and GMO-free ingredients sustainably sourced in the Brazilian Amazon. Refreshingly epic taste. Amazon Energy® gives you a boost the way nature intended. Real energy from real food - feel good about what you're putting in your body.

I highly recommend this product if you are looking for something to pick you up during those long weekdays. It's super decently priced and organic (a huge + in my book)!
You can find it in most grocery stores. I was able to find mine in my local Publix among the other cold juices!
They also have a lot of other great flavors including the popular Sambazon 100! 
Click below to find them near you! 

Want to know more? 

*disclose* I was sent coupons from Mom's Meet in order to try and review these products. Opinions are 100% my own*

body products

How I decide and buy

8:00 AM

How I decide and buy healthy, non-toxic, organic products
I often get asked how I decide on what household products to buy and what ones are the best and most natural,organic,non-toxic, and eco-friendly.

I'm still learning and finding new products but here is my "plan of attack" if you will, to how I find and purchase the best, safest, and most natural products for my home.

Picking the product to replace
While I have most of what we use switched over to better products it didn't start out that way. One of the first products I did research on (and switched over) was our laundry detergent. I was using a very popular brand of "free and clear" laundry detergent only to find out it wasn't as good as advertised. I finally found and settled on Sun and Earth and after that I ventured over to Ecover. Both great products made with the best natural ingredients that were truly "Free and Clear".
Side Note: Both of the detergents are pricy as far as laundry detergents go. 
But since they come in large amounts. They last me twice as long.

Do some light research
Since there is not regulation on the word "natural" these days, you can't expect whats on the shelf of your local store to be the best for you even though it says "natural". As I started replacing my products in my house with better ones, I realized I needed to make sure I was doing some light internet research to make sure what I was purchasing was indeed natural. My FAVORITE site to use is
This site is the absolute best and makes finding a product quick and easy.They rate products on either a A-F rating and a 1-10 rating. F and 10 being the most toxic.
Their site is easy to use and I highly recommend it

Look around
Once I've chosen my victim... I mean product.. that I am going to replace, I start looking everywhere. From my grocery store, to amazon, to my favorite friend, Vitacost for the best price. Sometimes I can buy items in store but I say 95% of the time I buy products online.

Trial and Error
Just because its natural/organic/non-toxic, doesn't mean it works that best. There is a lot of trial and error. Trust me. My shower is starting to look like a shampoo and conditioner shelf in Whole Foods. So be patient and open to trying more then one product to find what works best for you.

*Disclaimer* I have included in this blog some ‘affiliate’ type links. If you click on any of the Vitacost links and purchase any items, I also receive a coupons for monies off.